As coronavirus cases inflame the country, one state has the dubious distinction of where you're "most likely" to catch COVID-19 this week: Georgia. "Georgia's small gains are fragile and statewide progress will require continued, expanded, and stronger mitigation efforts, including in all open schools," said a White House report from Sunday. "Cases seem to be coming from within households," the report said. "It is essential that all citizens are limiting gatherings and protecting the members of their households with co-morbidities."
The Virus is 'Alive and Well' in Georgia
"COVID-19 is alive and well and it continues to spread in our communities," Dr. Harry Heiman told 11Alive's Tracey Amick-Peer. He said "that he is not surprised to see Georgia ranked number one in two different assessments. One from Harvard and another out of Georgia Tech," according to the news channel, "each citing Georgia as the 'most likely' state where someone may be exposed to the coronavirus. According to the Harvard Global Health Institute, Georgia leads the country in positive cases, with more than 25 cases per 100,000 people."
It's not surprising the state is struggling given some of the headlines. It has had difficulty limiting large gatherings. "A now-viral video posted on social media shows a massive gathering of University of North Georgia (UNG) students at party on Saturday night. Partygoers flooded the lawns of off-campus houses in Dahlonega, Georgia, two days before the school year officially began," reports CBS News.
And it has also been in the center of the firestorm about face mask mandates. "Georgia's governor, who has opposed local mask mandates and even sued over one in Atlanta, has signed a new executive order that allows local governments to enact mask requirements to help fight the coronavirus pandemic," says CBS News again. "As with previous orders, the one issued Saturday says residents and visitors of the state are 'strongly encouraged' to wear face coverings when they are outside of their homes, except when eating, drinking or exercising outside. But unlike previous orders, this one allows local governments in counties that have reached a 'threshold requirement' to require the wearing of masks on government-owned property."
How to Save Georgia
The White House report issued solutions. "The federal report recommends a statewide mask mandate for counties with more than 50 active cases of the virus, a new threshold that was not previously included in past reports. That threshold would still cover almost every county in the state," according to AJC. "The report also said Georgia is not conducting enough tests to help identify and isolate outbreaks and calls for increased testing and use of personal protective equipment in long-term care facilities such as nursing homes."
As for yourself, use caution in the state of Georgia, and do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19 in the first place: Mask up, get tested if you think you have coronavirus, avoid crowds (and bars, and house parties), practice social distancing, only run essential errands, wash your hands regularly, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 37 Places You're Most Likely to Catch Coronavirus.